By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A day after President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on several Russian arms firms over the Ukraine conflict, a top U.S. general warned that a congressional bid to bar dealings with Moscow's main weapons exporter could be "catastrophic" for U.S. forces. Marine General Joseph Dunford, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said 88 Russian helicopters the Pentagon is buying for Afghan security forces were critical for protecting U.S. troops that remain in the country after the end of this year.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A new Connecticut Supreme Court ruling is adding to the debate on whether gay marriage rights should be applied retroactively and qualify same-sex couples for rights and benefits for which they weren't entitled before state laws allowed them to marry.
NEWKIRK, N.M. (AP) — A medical helicopter flying to pick up a patient crashed into the side of a New Mexico hilltop early Thursday, bursting into flames and killing all three crew members on board, authorities said.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A casino boat stuck on a rocky sandbar freed itself Thursday without help from tow boats and returned to its home dock, a day and a half after the vessel ran aground during its first passenger cruise out of Savannah.
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Four days into the search for a missing pregnant woman in Maui, her half-sister and a group of volunteers got their first serious clues, finding a skirt, shirt and bra that appeared stained with blood. The sister recognized the items as belonging to 27-year-old Carly Scott and the searchers called police.
Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas' weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory's border with Israel.